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Guest Jabberwock

My new daughter

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Hello everyone! I'm new here. My teenage son told me a couple of weeks ago that he feels like he's really a girl trapped in a boy's body. I want to be supportive and accepting of this info so I'm here to seek advice. She will be starting therapy with a new psychiatrist in a week. She already sees one doctor for Asperger's and ADD, but her current psychiatrist doesn't have any experience with gender identity issues. Can someone tell me what to expect at the first session? What questions I should be asking?

Thanks for any input you can give me. :)

(I'm trying to get used to the pronoun change, but since she's not comfortable telling anyone else yet it's taking some getting used to. Please forgive any mistakes.)

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Jabberwock,

Welcome to Laura's!

Thank you for being supportive of your daughter, she needs you now more than you may ever realize...

It always warms my heart to see a parent putting the needs of their children first, even in such a challenging situation as a this.

Bless you!

There are a lot of other parents here, all on similar journeys, I'm sure you'll find yourself in fine company..

:) Svenna

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Hello wonderful Mama welcome to Laura's :)

I am a SO meaning a partner to a wonderful person who will be starting treatment soon . I don't have advice to give u but I do know we have some very awsome parents here who are very supportive I'm sure u will get to meet them. As I said I don't have advice but I do have a (((((hug)))) I know how hard it has been for me and finding Laura's has helped me to feel I'm not alone. Again I welcome you

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Hello everyone! I'm new here. My teenage son told me a couple of weeks ago that he feels like he's really a girl trapped in a boy's body. I want to be supportive and accepting of this info so I'm here to seek advice. She will be starting therapy with a new psychiatrist in a week. She already sees one doctor for Asperger's and ADD, but her current psychiatrist doesn't have any experience with gender identity issues. Can someone tell me what to expect at the first session? What questions I should be asking?

Thanks for any input you can give me. :)

(I'm trying to get used to the pronoun change, but since she's not comfortable telling anyone else yet it's taking some getting used to. Please forgive any mistakes.)

First of all I would like to Thank you for being a loving and supporting parent. I understand, as being an 18 year old transgender myself, it can be hard for a parent to accept that their child is suddenly a "different gender". It's a hard concept to grasp at first, but the fact you are here looking for advice for your daughter proves your resilience and your love for her.

Since she is starting to come out, she will be incredibly nervous. However, she will likely be eager to share her feelings with the therapist because she feels comfortable that you support her. If she wants to be called by another name, or by the feminine pronouns, try to work into that. Slowly if need be. But trust me, the feeling that you get when someone you love addresses you by your real name, it's exhilarating. When my mother called me Johnathan for the first time, I nearly cried. It felt like she finally saw me. I had been her son her entire life but I had remained invisible to her. I didn't blame her or hold any grudge against her, but when she started treating me like the young man I really am it was breath-taking and I was endlessly happy.

Take things slow but be supportive when you can. Laura's is always here to give advice and comfort to transgender individuals and their relatives. She is a young woman that is trying to come out into the world. I'm certain she's frightened and excited about becoming herself at the same time. I know I still am.

-JohnV

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So glad to have another supportive parent, it can mean so much just knowing that someone truly loves you while you are on this journey of self discovery.

As to what questions to ask, I am assuming that you have a therapist who has trained in gender identity issues so let them guide any discussion - when conversations slow down they know how to pick them back up again.

Your daughter should have a number of questions on her mind already and they will effect you as well, like what are the steps involved, how do we determine what is necessary, what age do you think is best and do you follow the Standards of Care? - how is that for starters?

Love ya,

Sally

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I echo those comments above - your actions will really save your daughter years (and tears) of misery!

I think that first session will be a 'get acquainted' session. I would suggest being brutally honest with all your feelings and don't worry about asking anything you want to. Try not to bog down. I know that probably afterwards thinking it over, you will wish you had asked this or wanted to know that.

So write down questions you want to ask? I mean just a brief outline. Therapy time goes so quickly! So maybe put a big star by the important things (and a heart by those emotional ones - sigh).

BUT do ask basics - including how much and how often. The therapist has no clue as to your ability to pay and if you have insurance that will help. I also suggest setting any future meetings on a regular basis - same time and same day - it's easier to remember that way.

Also let your daughter say what she wants. I know that is hard sometimes, letting a 'child' talk - but you will learn so much listening to her, because she will probably really open up. If she doesn't, just know she will later on - and maybe afterward on the way home. It's simple - open your heart to her, which you probably already have.

Finally, don't be afraid. Therapists are someone you pay to help you - they work for you. And they usually become your best ally because really they are a trained person with insights you will be surprised at.

BUT - if it is NOT a good fit, say so and that therapist can usually give you a referral to someone else.

Good luck!

Lizzy

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Welcome to the Playground, hon. You've already received some great advice, and I have nothing to add to it. I just want to join in telling you how very much I, and all of us here, appreciate and honor your decision to be open and accepting of your daughter's feelings and needs, and for coming here for assistance and advice. There are so many parents who will not even make an effort to understand, and some who go so far as to deny their own child, and turn away from them. Those situations break my heart, but to hear from someone like you gives me hope and cheer for your child's future.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

HUGS

Carolyn Marie

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Thank you all for your kind responses. It means so much to me to have other people that understand what we're going through.

We live in a very rural and religious area so I expect this forum will be my only support network for awhile.

We are seeing a therapist soon that has some experience in gender identity issues, but she's not a specialist in them by any means. She's only had a few other patients with them before. Is it absolutely necessary to see a therapist that only specializes in them or will our current therapist be enough? Google tells me that the nearest specialist is a few hundred miles away which would definitely limit the visits unfortunately.

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Funny you should right that, Jabberwock. I'm driving today from Long Island, NY, to New Hampshire to see a gender therapist with my trans son, a five-hour trip. Of course, I used to live in New Hampshire, so we're combining business with social time, if you know what I mean! It's our first visit and I'm committed to one next weekend as well (my son has a perfect attendance record at school and didn't want to miss a day!). After that, I figure therapy in our hometown, with occasional phone sessions with the NH gender therapist, if necessary, will work.

Just an update: My 16-year-old daughter came out as transgender -- was it only two weeks ago??? :blink: Since he plans to start next year -- his junior year of high school -- as a boy, we've had several meetings with school administrators and faculty. They've all been tremendously supportive and proud of his decision, even though this is the first time it has happened in this school system. They are, if possible, actually excited about helping and learning as they go. We couldn't have a more supportive environment.

In contrast, my husband and I drove an hour-and-a-half to attend a parents support group for LBGT parents and were gobsmacked by the parents, especially the dads, who were having trouble excepting their gay and trans sons/daughters. It was so sad! We, and our son, feel very blessed indeed that we have the kind of relationship we do. One day said he was going to get his transdaughter (who is 14!) a hooker to "shape him up." Gawd. Sounds like you and your daughter have a wonderful understanding. Stick around....

Taking it one day at a time. :P

Blue Heron

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One day said he was going to get his transdaughter (who is 14!) a hooker to "shape him up."

That is so odious, so abhorrent, so ignorant, that it elicited a feeling of pure, unalloyed disgust from me; hopefully, this father will come to accept his daughter as she is.

With that aside, I continue:

Jabberwock, allow me to convey many thanks to you, for the mere reason that you are willing to bring yourself to understand your child, who needs you. It is most unfortunate, but very true, that not all parents respond quite so positively, as demonstrated by Heron; this is a saddening reality.

I feel that cooperation with your daughter and a suitable professional will lead you, and indeed her, down this road; there will be bumps along the way, as with many roads, but the end will bring peace and happiness. Presupposing that she is a teenager, transition at such an age should be very promising indeed.

I hope that we can all be of assistance for you and her. Please do visit regularly. :)

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I'd echo the above comments, but it's already been said. You slipped into the pronouns easily. That's good. Just posting, basically to say, from the sounds of it, you are a fantastic parent.

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A bit of a belated welcome to you, Jabberwock. I echo the above posts. You are a wonderful parent for accepting and learning about your child's gender issue.

This online support at LP saved me in the beginning of my child's journey. We are so lucky to have it.

Heron, My jaw dropped when I read what that father said at the parent support meeting about getting his son a hooker. My brother said the same thing when I told him about my child.

There have been a few people who have said offensive, hurtful things to me when I told them, but most people are really great about it. The hurtful ones can wound deeply but we need to develop a thick skin. Having a sense of humor at their ignorance and rudeness helps too.

Our child's health and happiness and safety are our #1 priority and frankly, we don't need people around us who can't or won't try to understand.

How did your therapist visit go? Some therapists will set up skype visits with you if they are too far away for regular visits.

Good Luck!

Twinstar

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Yes, yes...

An update, please!!!

Cuz WE care.... we REALLY do...

Love for YOU! Svenna

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Thank you all for your support. It really means the world to me right now.

Right now we're just in a holding pattern. The new psychiatrist had to reschedule our appointment so it's been pushed back until next week.

This all feels very surreal still. Chris has Asperger's so on the best of days in familiar circumstances she's not very talkative. And with this I really feel like we should be talking about it but, she doesn't seem to have anything to say about it right now. I feel frustrated and confused and I'm sure she does as well. I have no idea what her expectations are and as a result I don't know how to move forward with anything. Chris doesn't feel comfortable coming out to our family or her classmates and with good reason, but I don't know what else I should be helping her with right now. I feel helpless and like I'm failing her as her mother.

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Dear Jabberwock,

You are on a long, difficult journey with your child. And you are doing everything that you can do. She will lead you, but there will be many years that seem that the rollercoaster is suspended high above reality, as you wait for the next huge plunge or fear a complete de-railment. All of us have felt your anxiety and helplessness, so, please, please understand that you are not alone. We made it through. Our children are happy and for me--tagging along with my daughter on a journey that I tried for years to prevent--has proved to be life altering as well. I learned more from her than I ever taught her. I have been able to grow and change and to live my true self.

I will keep you in my prayers and will answer any questions you may have.

Rhonda

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Dear Jabberwock,

I understand you when you say you feel helpless and confused and like you are failing as her mother but...

You are not failing her. You are saving her because you are listening to her, taking her seriously and seeking help for her. What more could she ask for?

There will be long lonely days and weeks because one thing a caring parent wants is to fix it. There will be highs and lows, it really is like a roller coaster. You will be happy and sad. Sometimes you will feel in control of things and somtimes you won't. There is no quick fix for this.

Take care of yourself, take time for yourself to do what makes you calm. This journey goes to all different places. You will meet parents of kids who fully transition and those who are parents of gender varient kids who don't transition.

When you have those uncertain feelings please remember that all of us parents have been there too and we made it through. You will too.

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